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Credit Card / Identity Theft

Identity theft, also called fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, is a crime on the rise. It cases billions of dollars in damages and affects millions of people across the country every year.

A common form of identity theft involves using someone else’s personal information to open a credit card account. This is called new account fraud, and it saw a 70% increase in the past year. If you have been charged with any form of identity theft, you should seek legal representation immediately.

Harris County Credit Card / Identity Theft Attorney

Identity theft charges can be complicated to navigate on your own. The risk of doing so outweighs the cost of hiring an attorney. The Gonzalez Law Group know this may be your first run-in with the law. That is why we want to help you.

Every case that comes through our door is treated with rigor, and yours is no exception. The attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group will formulate a defense plan that is in your best interest and make sure you are well informed every step of the way. Schedule a time to speak with us more about your case. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form.

The Gonzalez Law Group defends clients in all communities in Harris County including Houston, Pearland, Edgebrook, Pasadena and South Park.


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Texas Identity Theft Laws

According to a study from Javelin Strategy & Research, the United States saw a record-breaking rate of identity theft in 2017. The crime caused $16.8 billion in damage and affected nearly 17 million people.

Identity theft is a crime the state of Texas takes seriously. It involves taking someone else’s identifying information with the intent of harming or defrauding that person.

Per section 32.51 of the Texas Penal Code, identifying information includes a person’s:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Fingerprints, voice prints and retina or iris images
  • Electric ID numbers, addresses, routing codes or financial account numbers
  • Telecommunication ID information or access device
  • Social security numbers or other ID numbers issued by the government

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What is New Account Fraud?

New account fraud involves opening a new account with someone else’s personal information to purchase goods or services. The Texas Penal Code doesn’t have a specific law for new account fraud. Instead, it’s charged as a form of identity theft called false statements to obtain property or credit.

This crime is listed in section 32.32 of the Texas Penal Code, and it includes making false or misleading statements to obtain property or credit. Credit consists of a loan, a line of credit and a credit card.

A common way to commit new account fraud is using someone’s information to open a credit card account and then using that account to make purchases. If you stole someone else’s identifying information to open the account, you could also be charged with identity theft.

False statements to obtain property or credit is charged depending on the amount of credit or property you obtained while committing the crime. If charged, you could face the following penalties:

  • Class C misdemeanor if the value of the property or credit was less than $100. Penalties for a class C misdemeanor include a $500 fine.
  • Class B misdemeanor if the value of the property or credit was more than $100 but less than $750. Penalties for a class B misdemeanor include:
    • A fine that can cost up to $2,000
    • Up to 180 days in jail
    • Both a fine and confinement
  • Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property or credit was more than $750 but less than $2,500. Penalties for a class A misdemeanor include:
    • A fine that can cost up to $4,000
    • Up to one year in jail
    • Both a fine and confinement
  • State jail felony if the value of the property or credit was $2,500 or more but less than $30,000. Penalties for a state jail felony include:
    • No less than 180 days but no more than a year in jail
    • A fine that can cost up to $10,000
  • Third-degree felony if the value of the property or credit was $30,000 or more but less than $150,000. Penalties for a third-degree felony include:
    • No less than two years but no more than 10 years in prison
    • A fine that can cost up to $10,000
  • Second-degree felony if the value of the property or credit was $150,000 or more but less than $300,000. Penalties for a second-degree felony include:
    • No less than two years but no more than 20 years in prison
    • A fine that can cost up to $10,000
  • First-degree felony if the value of the property or credit is $300,000 or more. Penalties for a first-degree felony include:
    • No less than five years but no more than 99 years or life in prison
    • A fine that can cost up to $10,000

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What are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Texas?

To be convicted of identity theft in Texas, it is required that you are found in possession of the identifying information of three or more people. How you are penalized for the crime will depend on the amount of identifying information found in your possession.

According to the Texas Penal Code, you could face the following penalties if you are found guilty of identity theft:

  • State jail felony if you used less than five pieces of identifying information.
  • Third-degree felony if you used more than five but less than 10 pieces of identifying information.
  • Second-degree felony if you used more than 10 but less than 50 pieces of identifying information.
  • First-degree felony if you used 50 or more pieces of identifying information.

You may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim(s). This can include lost income, attorney’s fees and other expenses incurred as a result of the crime.

If you are being investigated for identity theft, you should contact legal representation as soon as possible. Since the crime is charged as a felony, it has the potential to affect you long after your time has been served and the fine has been paid.


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Additional Resources for Credit Card/ Identity Theft

False Statements to Obtain Property or Credit | Texas Penal Code – Follow this link to read the complete text of the section that governs false statements to obtain property or credit. You can also learn what the state considers credit and about the agencies that get involved when the crime involves a mortgage loan.

Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information| Texas Penal Code – Visit FindLaw to learn more about the state’s identity theft laws. You can also find out when the crime is elevated and whom the crime does not apply to.


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Houston, TX Credit Card/Identity Theft Lawyer

Identity theft is a crime that is taken seriously in Texas. Prosecutors will stop at nothing to find you guilty of the crime. To mitigate the chances of you spending time in prison, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group. Our attorneys will exhaust all of their resources to ensure the best possible outcome for your situation.

Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form for a case consultation. The Gonzalez Law Group represents clients in all areas of Harris County including Galena Park, Jacinto City, Friendswood and Webster.


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